By Moshood Ayeni
Getting Pension payment or Retirement Benefits is supposed to be an easy exercise devoid of any form of hardship and stress. However, this is not the case for most pensioners or Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders.
Experience has shown that while the pension administrators are found culpable in some instances, in most cases the pensioners or contributors are also largely responsible for the delays they experience.
Here are some of the reasons why pension payments or retirement benefits may get delayed:
As it is with other financial matters, accurate and up-to-date documentation occupies a crucial spot in the processing of payments. If required documents are not presented by the pensioner, the payment process will be stalled and this will cause a delay in payment. Some of these documents include the last payslip, bond certificate, letter of administration (where needed), confirmation of retirement from employer, etc.
One of the important documents needed for pension payment processing at retirement is the last payslip. This is needed to help in the calculation of periodic pensions for the retiree. Failure to provide this document or something to evidence annual remuneration at previous employment may cause a delay in the processing of pension for the retiree. When a retiree cannot provide these required documents to the PFA, then the processing of pension is delayed
The pension industry is a highly regulated industry and all boxes MUST be ticked with respect to required documents before any payment is processed.
It is highly advisable that RSA holders keep all important documents intact to avoid issues of their misplacement at retirement or when claiming retirement benefits.
Pension payments are subject to regulatory frameworks which include the PRA 2014, circulars, codes and guidelines issued from time to time by the industry regulator. PFAs, for example, are guided by regulatory directives on the processing and payment of pensions to retirees and other retirement benefits to RSA holders. These include but not limited to when to start processing, documents required for processing, how much to pay and so on.
A retiree in the public sector, for example, will not start the receipt of pension even when retired but until the retirement bond for past service years has been given to the PFA. The Retirement Bond may take years to be released, hence causing delay in the commencement of pension payment.
Perhaps, a reform is needed in this respect to allow the retirees access the balance in the RSA while waiting for the bond certificate from their employer.
As a requirement, all RSA holders who joined the CPS before July 2019 will have to get their data recaptured in the Data Recapture Exercise (DRE) with their respective PFA using the new Enhanced Contributors Registration System (ECRS). Failure to do this will stall the processing of pension payment to the retiree.
The responsibility to update individual data through the DRE lies on the retiree or the RSA holder. The more this is delayed the more the payment will be delayed as well.
As a rule, all pension contributions during the period the retiree was working must be remitted to the PFA. There are cases where some contributions may be missing. There are several reasons this may happen. One of such is non-remittance by the employer. This is why it is important for the RSA holder to review his RSA statement regularly and ensure that all deducted pension contributions are credited into his RSA.
Normally, PFAs will not begin the process of pension until all the missing contribution issues are resolved. Waiting until retirement to get this resolved will definitely cause a delay in pension payment to the retiree.